Atelier Icon Series - #1 The Chanel Classic Flap Bag

Welcome to the Atelier Icon Series!

We are using this series to delve in deep to the true heroes - the pieces that, we feel, have contributed to fashion history.  And it’s not just about their significance, these are dream items that make us swoon.  You know that feeling – your heart starts to race, palms get a bit sweaty, eyes widen….and you just know that you have seen something special!

We’re a little bit geeky here at Atelier, and love to dig into the details of what makes something special.  It’s a passion we are proud of, and one that we want to share.  We also want to showcase the incredible pieces that we have in the studio, as we love finding new homes for them.

We are launching our icon series with a true heroine, a handbag that is one of the most recognisable and coveted of all time – the Chanel Classic Flap Bag.  I mean, how could we not!  Few bags have achieved such iconic status with women around the globe and every handbag addict will have (at least) one in their collection.

So let’s go…The Chanel Classic Flap…

History

‘‘With all the history it carries inside, it represents more than a bag: it’s like carrying Paris on your shoulder.’’

Zoé Adjani

Formally christened the 11.12, the history of the Chanel Classic Flap bag goes back to February 1955 when Coco Chanel created a handbag with a double flap complete with a mademoiselle metal chain and closure. Introducing a double chain was incredibly forward thinking, with the aim to allow hands-free use of the bag and allow the bag to be slung over one’s shoulder or carried in the crook of the arm.  This bag was known as the 2.55 – the numerical reference being taken from the date it was created.

The 11.12 was introduced by Karl Lagerfeld in 1983.  It may look similar to its predecessor, but it carries design features that are distinctly different. The most prominent of these is the turn-lock clasp – on the 2.55, it is rectangular, while on the 11.12, it takes the form of Chanel’s interlocking double-C logo. Notably it goes down in fashion history as the first Chanel bag that features the famous interlocking double-C logo.

Carole Bouquet states on the Chanel website:

‘‘The 11.12 bag bears witness to the spirit and fantasy of its creator.’’

Design

Any Classic Flap Bag or 2.55 has a number of recognisable design features. Both bags are square or rectangle shaped and can be closed with a flap and lock. Most flap bags will have a double flap; however, some sizes and shapes are only available with a single flap. Inside these Chanel bags you will find burgundy leather with a Chanel logo on the biggest flap, the burgundy colour is said to be inspired by the uniforms worn at the orphanage that Coco Chanel went to. There are two different compartments, the main compartment has three slip-in pockets: two small, and one bigger pocket.  It is also said that the small zipped pocket is where Coco used to hide her love notes!

There have been a wide range of designs and styles of the Chanel Flap Bags over the years and there are many different types of leather and materials that you will be able to find. Originally, the Flap Bag was crafted using quilted lambskin – and this is still the most common type of leather you will find the bags in. Another common leather is Caviar leather. Which is treated, grained calfskin leather, made to resist water. Both of these classic leathers are available in a great variety of colours. 

The stunning classic flap that we are featuring in today’s blog is a very special bag.  From 2017, it is crafted from apple red caviar leather in a chevron pattern, a unique twist on the classic diamond quilted leather you most often see.  It is paired with crisp silver hardware, which makes the red pop even more and gives the bag a cool and edgy tone.  Imagine this bag with the diamond quilting and gold hardware – two small tweaks that would give an entirely different look and feel. 

Investment

These bags are famed for their fantastic investment properties, something only strengthened by Chanel’s regular price increases.  A new classic double flap would currently retail at £5890 and they are holding their value in the resale market. 

It goes without saying that we love everything about the classic flap and have been lucky to see so many variations of the bag come through the studio (and very quickly leave to their new happy homes).  Maxis, jumbos, minis…all shapes and sizes have their own unique history and presence that keeps handbag addicts wanting more.

Do you love the Chanel Classic Flap?  Do you own one? Let us know in the comments below! 

Love Atelier x